Etrvsca Sans  -  is the primal 18th Century sanserif. This typeface was derived from practice-based historical research that identifies the architect John Soane’s inspiration and Piranesian model for his serif-less letterforms deployed as titling on drawings and as proposed inscriptions throughout the last quarter of the eighteen-century. Soane's typography revived the primitive letterforms of Republican Rome and earlier pre-roman serif-less alphabets of the Etruscans and the Greeks. 

Archival material, period books and antique print engravings were studied to provide the platform to revive a typeface that is fully representative of eighteenth century serif-less letterforms used to represent both the neoclassical and the ‘antique.’ 

An increasing rationalist ideology for architecture focused upon the precedents of the Roman from the 1740s. This ‘primitivism’ concentrates on the originality of Greek architecture as opposed to theories of an Etruscan origin that scholars have proffered since the late seventeenth-century. This academic argument resulted in Giovanni Battista Piranesi visually ‘demonstrating’ that Roman sensibility of serifs were added to the Etruscan, in an attempt to re-exert his architectural ethos and the dominance of Italy since the Renaissance. 

In 1756 Piranesi completed the final plates of Le Antichità Romane to counter the growing argument of a Greek origin. Plate 25 Fig.1, plate 41 and the initial N to the section: ‘Explanation to the Aqueducts’ - present a near mono-line and geometrical letterform without serifs. A single capital ‘E’ is highlighted with the addition of component serifs indicating the source of the classical engraved Roman. 

This debate continues, through the 1760s and 70s, producing a number of important engravings depicting letterforms from antiquity. These provide source material for the revival of a proto-sans of the eighteenth-century, within the production of large broadsheet type specimens, including an informative historical timeline on top of Soane's British Senate House plan. Both the large broadsheet timeline infographic and the full type specimen are available to download below...

The ETRVSCA Sans Typeface, presented ‘in production’ at the annual international conference on type design: ATypI18 Type Legacies, in Antwerp, makes a pivotal contribution to type evolution and the origin of sans serif modernist typography. View the recorded 'True source of the Sans' lecture on their dedicated YouTube Channel.



ETRVSCA Sans Regular


ETRVSCA Sans Regular Italic





ETRVSCA Sans Bold Italic



Development of Serif-less Type' timeline broadsheet


'Development of Serif-less Type' timeline broadsheet [3.3MB]


ETRVSCA Sans full type specimen broadsheet


ETRVSCA Sans full type specimen broadsheet [5.6MB]